Are you up to date with the scripts?

It is neither a hyphen nor an underscore (_), the hyphen (-) is a punctuation mark that is most commonly used to join two words to form one, and for such a small character, it has an important role in any document of text. In fact, the script has an entire function dedicated to its use in Word 2007.

Hyphenation takes care of the role of the hyphen when used to separate words at the end of a line. A word that appears at the end of a line, but is too long to fit completely on that line, can be hyphenated. This is especially useful if passing the word to the next line avoids unpleasant spaces in the text on the previous line.

The difficulty, of course, is that inserting a hyphen in a word at the end of a line is not a permanent part of the spelling of the word. The rules for deciding where to insert a hyphen, therefore, can sometimes cause confusion. Some prefer to divide the words between consonants, for example, “splen-dour”; and some between vowels – ‘appreciated’. One-syllable words should never be divided, eg “rhythm”. As a general guide, the hyphen should be placed in the word in a place that makes the text easier to read.

Word 2007 has a sophisticated hyphenation feature, which takes over most of the decision making for you. The hyphenation feature can be used to avoid line gaps when text is justified or to make text more even across lines when using ‘ragged’ copy. Hyphenation also creates a better understanding and awareness of the shape of words on a line, and allows the author to create a more professional and polished looking document.

The hyphenation feature can be configured to automatically or manually split text, insert optional or non-split hyphens, and set the maximum amount of space allowed between a word and the right margin without splitting the word.

When you select Auto Hyphenation, when a word is too long to fit at the end of a line, Word 2007 automatically splits the word into two lines. Automatic hyphenation is a great facility if you are sure where a script will be inserted. If the text is edited, Word automatically re-divides the altered text as needed.

Manual splitting gives the author more control to select where a dash should or should not appear. Again, if you edit the text, Word will offer alternatives to the new line breaks and will not automatically separate the words. This is particularly useful when using compound verbs and nouns such as “internal” or “email” and when the internal style dictates the spelling.

An optional hyphen can be used when you want to ensure that a word will only break at the end of a line in a certain place. For example, to ensure that the word without hyphens is never divided as ‘without hyphens’. An optional hyphen can be inserted after “non” and before “hyphen”. To insert an optional dash, use the ‘CTRL + Dash’ keys. To view optional scripts, select the Show and Hide function from the Paragraph group on the Home tab.

You can also insert a hyphen that does not break into words or phrases that you do not want to break at the end of a line. For example, in the number sequence, ‘Telephone: 555-5555’, the telephone number must not be divided on a line.

A non-splitting script can be written to ensure that the number does not split over two lines. To insert a hyphen that does not break, click where the hyphen appears and press ‘CTRL + SHIFT + hyphen’. Now the whole number will go to the next line and will not be divided at the point of the dash.

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